Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lonergan's project (in one paragraph)

Aquinas's language is metaphysical (potency, form, act, agent intellect, possible intellect, etc.). But the modern charge against theology is that none of this can be demonstrated, observed, or proven on an empirical basis. Lonergan's project was to transpose Aquinas into explicitly psychological language. Anyone, then, can observe and appropriate the workings of his own mind when he is knowing something. Experiencing, understanding, and judging would be the psychological correlates to potency, form, and act in metaphysics. This empirical approach is a response to a particularly modern attack on faith. And, if Aquinas's thought is re-conceived and transposed isomorphically (i.e. merely a different expression of the same form, as mathematics may be expressed either geometrically or symbolically), then it can handle modern attacks with more potency than a purely metaphysical account.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Against 'sedevacantism'

I'm coming closer to a technical refutation of sedevacantism.

Most people, in debating sedevacantists, do not take the claims of sedevacantists seriously, and end up saying something like, "that's crazy; that can't be true; God wouldn't let that happen." When the logic isn't directly refuted, sedevacantists take that for further proof of their own claims.

The key claim of sedevacantists is that of contradiction. Their method is deductive logic; their premises are external words; are definitions and concepts; are abstract; are not concrete things, but intelligible species; are not full realities.

But man first understands (grasps intelligibility) in images; phantasm. This is pre-conceptual; is intelligent, not logical. Man understands something of the form in the diagram of a circle before he defines. After this grasp proceeds the inner word that is the beginning of definition and judgement. Spoken words refer to inner words; written words are symbols for spoken words.

So, sedevacantists are intelligent, reasonable people making logical deductions from abstract definitions, which were themselves verbalizations proceeding from individual minds grasping intelligible forms in concrete, particular things and historical situations. Since sedevacantists do not account for all of concrete reality, they operate at the level of a critique. But Kant made valid critiques; Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, et al, made certain valid critiques, as they also used their faculty of reason and did not speak only nonsense.

Sedevacantists understand something of the evil in the human elements of the Church, but we need not accept this as a demonstration that the Church, headed by Francis, is not, ontologically, the Roman Catholic Church.

I will continue to develop this, but I see now a technical explanation of my first notion, months ago, that sedevacantists cannot be refuted on the terms they set up. More than the level of logic is involved in theology, and to say that is not to prescind at all from an intelligent refutation.

Afterword:

Conceptualism is a myth, and can be shown to be so. One sees this water, then that water, and so decides that there must be an ideal water in a noetic heaven that this or that water is imperfectly imitating. Somewhere there's an Idea of true water; personify the Idea and call him Neptune.

But the Aristotelian-Thomist account shows that while there is common matter (intelligible species), abstracted from particular things, from which we grasp forms, these are merely parts of the real; parts abstracted from space and time, understood and communicated apart from space and time.

The teachings of the Church are not subsistent Ideas against which real men and societies must be compared. The teachings are external words, abstracted and defined from concrete situations, to facilitate understanding any present or future concrete situation. Grasping a particular good of order in the Roman Empire results in the abstract definition known as civilization. Civilization as divine Idea leads to declaration that all others are barbarous abominations. Using the concept 'civilization' to pick out the particular good of order in this or that particular society, present or future, allows for discovery and encouragement of further good in potency that may be actualized.

Insofar as a sedevacantist is a conceptualist, he remains in his holding pattern; caught in myth; unable to see that this Church is good; is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic; the presence of sin not withstanding.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Doge's reading list

A running list of books, essays, papal encyclicals, et cetera:



203. 
202. Essays in Systematic Theology 36: Functional Specialties for a World Theology by Robert M. Doran, SJ
201. Essays in Systematic Theology 46: Moving Vatican II Forward: The Multi-Religious Context by Robert M. Doran, SJ
200. Lonergan and Rahner on the Natural Desire to See God by Jeremy Blackwood
199. The Triune God: Systematics on Divine Processions as Intelligent Emanations: A Commentary on pp.124-229 by Robert M. Doran, SJ
198. De conscientia Christi by Bernard Lonergan, SJ
197. Miraculous Syllogisms: Clocks, Faith and Reason in Paradiso 10 and 24 by Christian Moevs
196. The metaphysics of Dante's Comedy by christian moevs
195. Verbum - Word and Idea in Aquinas by Bernard Lonergan, SJ 
194. Work of Human Hands - A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI by Rev. Anthony Cekada
193. Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre (Vol. 1) by Michael Davies
192. Quo Primum Tempore by Pope St. Pius V
191. A Short History of the Roman Mass by Michael Davies
190. Europe and the Faith "Sine auctoritate nulla vita" by Hilaire Belloc
189. Ethics and the National Economy by Heinrich Pesch, SJ
188. Miserentissimus Redemptor (Encyclical) by Pope Pius XI
187. The Method of Theology 1962 (Lectures) by Bernard Lonergan, SJ
186. Insight by Bernard Lonergan
185. Euthyphro by Plato
184. Masterpieces of Medieval Literature (Lectures) by Timothy Shutt
183. The Aeneid of Virgil (audio course) by Elizabeth Vandiver
182. Introduction to Christianity by Joseph Ratzinger
181. The Renaissance by Paul Johnson
180. How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
179. Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues (lecture) by Fr. Robert Barron
178. Odyssey of the West III, Medieval (audio course) by Timothy Shutt
177. Augustine: Philosopher and Saint (audio course) by Phillip Cary
176. An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent by John Henry Cardinal Newman
175. Phaedo by Plato
174. The Mystical Theology of St. Bernard by Etienne Gilson
173. Plato and Aristotle (audio course) by Aryeh Kosman
172. Silence by Shusaku Endo
171. A History of Venice: Queen of the Seas (audio course) by Thomas Madden
170. Edith Stein and Companions by Fr. P.W.F.M. Hamans
169. Medieval World Pt. 2 (audio course) by Thomas Madden
168. Remapping Scholasticism (lecture transcript) by Marcia Colish
167. ...Personalism...JPII (lecture transcript) by Michael Waldstein
166. Quo Primum by Pope St. Pius V
165. Regnans in Excelsis by Pope St. Pius V
164. Fides et Ratio by John Paul II
163. Pascendi Doninici Gregis by Pope St. Pius X
162. The Mind that is Catholic by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.
161. Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice by Thomas F. Madden
160. God Wills It! Understanding the Crusades (audio course) by Thomas F. Madden
159. Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed
158. The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas (audio course) by Peter Kreeft
157. Everything that Rises must Converge (short story) by Flannery O'Connor
156. Eucharist by Fr. Robert Barron
155. Duns Scotus and Medieval Christianity (audio course) by Ralph McInerny
154. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
153. The Spirit of Mediæval Philosophy by Etienne Gilson
152. Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton
151. Apologia Pro Vita Sua by John Henry Cardinal Newman
150. The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton
149. Light of the World by Benedict XVI
148. The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
147. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
146. Exit Ghost by Philip Roth
145. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
144. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
143. The Templars: Knights of Christ by Regine Pernoud
142. The Ratzinger Report by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
141. Credo for Today - What Christians Believe by Benedict XVI
140. After this Life by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
139. Crossing the Threshold of Hope by John Paul II
138. The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright
137. Called to Communion by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
136. Milestones: Memoirs 1927-77 by Joseph Ratzinger
135. The Man in the Black Suit: 4 Dark Tales by Stephen King
134. Memoirs by Ludwig von Mises
133. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
132. Jesus of Nazareth by Benedict XVI
131. Witness to Hope by George Weigel
130. Called Out of Darkness, A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice
129. Truth and Tolerance by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
128. Indignation by Philip Roth
127. In the Land of Invisible Women by Ahmed Qanta
126. Everyman by Philip Roth
125. The Driver by Garrett Garet
124. LIberty by Garrison Keillor
123. Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
122. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
121. The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
120. Beloved by Toni Morrison
119. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (short story) by F. Scott Fitzgerald
118. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
117. Directed Verdict by Randy Singer
116. Duma Key by Stephen King
115. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
114. Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
113. The Reader by Bernard Schlink
112. In the Beauty of the Lilies by John Updike
111. Pandora by Anne Rice
110. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
109. Stationary Bike by Stephen King
108. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
107. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
106. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
105. The Jester by James Patterson
104. Oil! by Upton Sinclair
103. A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
102. The Potter's Field by Ellis Peters
101. Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice
100. The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
99. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
98. Caribbean by James Michener
97. The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice
96. The Chamber by John Grisham
95. The Appeal by John Grisham
94. The Dark Half by Stephen King
93. Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by Carmen Bin Ladin
92. By Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin
91. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
90. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
89. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
88. The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
87. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
86. Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
85. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
84. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
83. Misery by Stephen King
82. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
81. The Lake House by James Patterson
79. Bag of Bones by Stephen King
78. Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
77.

(in progress) Grace and Freedom: Operative Grace in the Thought of St. Thomas Aquinas by Bernard Lonergan, SJ
(in progress) Method in Theology by Bernard Lonergan, SJ
(in progress) Le mendiant ingrat (journal de l'auteur 1892-95) par Léon Bloy
(in progress) Reading Dante's Stars by Alison Cornish
(in progress) The Race to Death and the Race for Salvation in Dante's Commedia by Thomas Werge
(in progress) too many others to list...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Acting and actors

Point to remember, explore further, and write about: Classical Greek distinguished between dramatic acting and praxis. In English, we have only the one word -- act -- to signify both.

Source: Lecture on Aristotle's Poetics by Prof. Aryeh Kosman 
The Modern Scholar: Plato and Aristotle: The Genesis of Western Thought

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Real orthodoxy breeds confidence!

From Newman: "Writing zealously and freely on this side of the Catholic doctrine, Dionysius laid himself open to the animadversion of timid and narrow-minded men, who were unwilling to receive the truth in that depth and fulness in which Scripture reveals it, and who thought that orthodoxy consisted in being at all times careful to comprehend in one phrase or formula the whole of what is believed on any article of faith."

Reminds me of Bernard Lonergan's passages in Verbum: Word and Idea in Aquinas, when discussing Aquinas's lack of fussiness in translating Aristotle's Greek into Latin. Apparently, St. Thomas means different things by the same Latin terms in various places, and Lonergan sees this as a mark of an intelligent, fluid mind, rather than some evidence of contradiction or error.

Source for Newman quote:
Arians of the Fourth Century by John Henry Cardinal Newman
Chapter 1, Section 5, PP beginning "Writing zealously and freely..."
http://www.newmanreader.org/works/arians/chapter1-5.htm

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A charm for bees

Christ, there is a swarm of bees outside,
Fly hither, my little cattle,
In blest peace, in God's protection,
Come home safe and sound.
Sit down, sit down, bee,
St. Mary commanded thee.
Thou shalt not have leave,
Thou shalt not fly to the wood.
Thou shalt not escape me,
Nor go away from me.
Sit very still,
Wait God's will!

Medieval People by Eileen Power (1963)
Notes and Sources/ CHAPTER II/ THE PEASANT BODO
9. Old High German charm written in a tenth-century hand in a ninth-century codex containing sermons of St. Augustine, now in the Vatican Library. Brawne, Althochdeutsches Lesebuch (fifth edition, Halle, 1902), p. 83.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Only like knows like

I love the works of Etienne Gilson; nearly every page of prose provides a new insight. The following idea in particular stayed with me after reading his work entitled The Mystical Theology of St. Bernard:

An ancient Greek doctrine says that "only like knows like." St. Bernard thinks about this in the context of Adam's first sin.

Man is made in the image and likeness of God. He still reflects the image, but lost the likeness at the time of the Fall. Bernard says that by growing in holiness, we begin to restore our original likeness to God. This makes sense: God is holy, so our holiness makes us like Him. Returning to our theme, since only like knows like, it follows that the more alike we are to God, the more we know him. Put in the negative sense, we cannot know him unless we are holy.

I have heard the apologetic advice for skeptics and those with doubts that they just start practicing the Faith, and their belief and understanding will follow. Bernard's theology seems to me a technical explanation of that phenomenon: practice piety, grow in holiness, and understand God as one cannot from a position of hostility and antagonism.

This type of confirmation edifies my own faith. I encounter disparate sources in my reading that seem capable of being overlaid -- layer after layer -- so that the fruit of Catholicism grows real, tangible, and richer with each layer.

I have more posts planned based on this book and others by Gilson...stay tuned.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us!

                                                                                                              Last update 6/7/2012